High-quality photo comparison: the new unibody MacBooks

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
While Apple didn't make mention of it at the time, the MacBook Air silently debuted the start of a new unibody MacBook line. The new 15" MacBook Pro and its 13" MacBook sibling have managed to carry out the same lines and execution, harmonizing the plastic MacBook and the now half decade old Aluminum Powerbook design carried forward by the MacBook Pro. Here's how the two models compare.



See also:

High-quality unboxing photos: late 2008 13" MacBook

High-quality unboxing photos: late 2008 15" MacBook Pro



The first hint that the new MacBooks are riding the same jet stream of the Air is the slim thin boxes each ships in. Compared to the MacBook Pro boxes from just a year or two ago (below), the new MacBook and MacBook Pro come in implausibly small white boxes. Somewhat ironically, Final Cut Studio ships in a significantly larger box than the new notebooks. The middle box is the 15" MacBook Pro, while the box in front is the 13" MacBook.















The new MacBooks claim a small box profile by following the packaging rules originally laid down by the iPhone: a thin plastic bed holds the notebook snug against a thin foam pad attached to the box lid (below). This removes the need for large styrofoam inserts, in addition to providing a clean and more luxurious unboxing experience. The side benefit is that there's much less waste, the carbon footprint of shipping the boxes is smaller, it's cheaper to ship, and it's easier for customers to save their box for reuse later.







With the notebooks and trays removed (below), the standard booklet of product information and the units' MagSafe power adapters are exposed.







Nearly identical in size, the 13" 60 watt and 15" 85 watt adapters (below) are much smaller than the original 85 watt power adapter for the full size MacBook Pro (top right in photo), but still larger than the very small iPod adapters and the brand new, tiny adapter for the iPhone 3G (top left).







Compared to each other, the 13" and 15" models have identical outlines that capture the smoothly rounded edges of the MacBook Air. From above, the machines look like polished metal tiles emblazoned with an Apple logo, not notebook computers.







From the front (below top), the two models look devices built by the aerospace industry. From the back (below bottom), both reveal their solid black plastic hinge cover.











On top of each other, the smaller 13" MacBook reveals its slightly less deep but significantly less wide outline.







Compared to the MacBook Pro, the 13" MacBook has no speaker grill at all (below top) and significant less depth (below bottom) from the inside hinge to the front of the unit.











From the port side on the left, the smaller MacBook reveals its lack of Firewire and the Pro's ExpressCard slot.











Both machines feature an identical battery indicator built into the front left side of the unit (below).







The MacBooks' batteries are longer and slimmer than the previous MacBook Pro battery (previous model on left, 15" MacBook Pro in center, 13" MacBook battery on right, below), and also interfaces with the unit itself to display the power charge indicator on the side of the unit. One side effect is that extra batteries now lack an easy way to tell if they're charged or not, but if the battery isn't in your notebook, you probably already know if its charged up or not. If you can't keep track, you'll now have to swap them in and out to find out. The convenience of the side mounted display is probably enough to outweigh the lack of an integrated battery indicator on the unit itself.



While a replacement battery has always seemed like an important feature, I have to admit that I have very rarely ever used any of my extra batteries over the last decade.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    There is plenty of room on the MacBook for a FW800 port. That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    That's what you want. A solid piece of kit!
  • Reply 3 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    There is plenty of room on the MacBook for a FW800 port. That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.



    They want to differentiate, this was a judgement call about that. It's annoying as hell though.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    Where are the Macbook 13'' sound columns?



    I can only see the Macbook Pro 15'' sound columns grill.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    IMO it was a huge mistake not putting FW at all on the MB. This will exclude most people who need to connect their camcorders to their MB. Not to mention all the people who have already invested in FW external drives. What about booting into target mode? Have they made this work over USB?



    Also, I find the black keyboards ugly. I get that people like the "chiclet" style keyboard but why not silver like on the last MBP's? The MBP's key covers are plastic in the last couple gens so materials/manufacturing should not be the issue. Even if it has more plastic, screws, etc. I think my MBP in all silver looks way better than the new two tone look. If they had used an all silver/aluminum color scheme on these new MBP's they might have reached design Nirvana.



    Then again, what appeals to one, may not to another.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    csscss Posts: 2member
    Looks good!
  • Reply 7 of 47
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    AppleInsider thanks for the article I enjoyed it and I am resisting going to my local Apple store to see them so this suffices. (My local Apple store is run by idiots and I cannot stand going inside.)



    Apple is making consistent bounds in their products, more so that the likes of others (e.g., HP that has gone downhill since Hurd took over).
  • Reply 8 of 47
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    A year ago when I bought my Macbook I had wished for the LED display and it is nice, but I do not lust after these Macbooks due to their lack of firewire. For my old camcorder I needed firewire. There's no way I'd trade that for LED at this point. Unless, I got a new camcorder.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    yamayama Posts: 427member
    Is AppleInsider going to be purchasing one of the 24" LED displays, so we can get some high quality photos please?
  • Reply 10 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    (My local Apple store is run by idiots and I cannot stand going inside.)



    I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.



    I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."



    In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.



    True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.
  • Reply 11 of 47
    I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?
  • Reply 12 of 47
    Amazing, too bad Malaysia will only be able to see the new Macs in November...THATS A FREAKIN 3 WEEKS! not to include if it will pass our amazingly slow SIRIM inspection. Seriously, the new iPod Touch haven't even landed yet and how long have the new iPod Touch released? Oh right, sometime in September and its now almost middle of October.



    That's interesting, the new base MBP price is higher then last time, when I bought my MBP it was RM6999, the new one its RM7199, I thought that the new MBP price is the same as the old one? Oh yea and it seems the MB and MBP current stocks will finish quickly cause one of the authorized dealer is doing clearance already, imagine the outlets will be out of macs...
  • Reply 13 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post


    I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.



    I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."



    In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.



    True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.



    That is because certain days of the week are set aside for this kind of setup when new product arrives. It's not as simple as just throwing them out on the sales floor. The product has to be imaged properly with the store demo and a locked HD. The "visuals" employees also have to wait for plano info from corporate before they can setup anything and it will almost NEVER happen while the store is open.



    Rule of thumb: Always call first if you're driving a long distance for something.
  • Reply 14 of 47
    robb01robb01 Posts: 148member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nanotech View Post


    I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?



    I'm wondering the same thing



    _____________________

  • Reply 15 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by diger4ai View Post


    IMO it was a huge mistake not putting FW at all on the MB. This will exclude most people who need to connect their camcorders to their MB. Not to mention all the people who have already invested in FW external drives. What about booting into target mode? Have they made this work over USB?



    What is worse is that not only can't you do target disk mode, you can't boot off of anything over USB, which is also slower with higher latency then FW800 or even 400.

    I use external disks to boot up my computers whenever I need to, since they are faster then CDs, and are writeable. Booting off of an external HD is the best way to perform diagnostics or checks on a Mac, and now Apple has removed that option. I'm not going to be buying any Mac without firewire any time soon....



    But I am loving the new MBPs, and it's getting about time to upgrade from my tired old Mac Mini...

    I can't wait to see the prices on the new 17 inchers when they come out whenever!
  • Reply 16 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JakeTheRock View Post


    What is worse is that not only can't you do target disk mode, you can't boot off of anything over USB, which is also slower with higher latency then FW800 or even 400.



    All Intel based Macs can boot from USB drives that have been properly formated and have OSX installed. I've done it.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post


    I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.



    I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."



    In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.



    True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.



    They weren't on the sales floor but were available for sale at my local store.

    Another customer purchased a MacBook sight unseen.

    After she purchased it she took it out to inspect it.

    She allowed me to briefly examine it.

    It is amazing! So solid... like a brick!

    The screens are much brighter than the old MacBooks.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    We're going to need a separate thread for the Firewire port discsussion - or is there one already?



    I don't do much work with video, so I didn't know so many cameras had moved toward USB. That said, there are still tons of DV cameras out there in the middle of their useful lifespan. The way iLife has been positioned, including iMovie, it's not right to drop the Firewire port just yet.



    iLife tells us that editing video is for casual consumers. Macbooks are for casual consumers. But not with casual consumer Firewire cameras.



    Apple has established itself as the leader in moving away from older ports, clearly. But in this case they jumped the gun. Next year - I can see dropping it. This was too sudden.



    We have both a Macbook and a MBP in this house. I've started using the Macbook more because of the size. If I wanted to upgrade to aluminum today I'd be pretty irritated by the lack of Firewire.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    GREAT Photos! I'm not even in the market for a new laptop and those pics got my mind wandering...



    As a man, I think I can speak for most of us salivating at the idea of a solid, metallic, curvy object.



    I agree with a previous poster about the black keys. It's a little jarring. But the screen bevel is black so they really had no choice. Women would have noticed the disparity right away.



    These are basically generation 1 of a new paradigm, so it will be fascinating to follow Apple's improvements. I'd like to be able to switch GPUs via a software toggle instead of rebooting. And when are the supposed breakthroughs going to come as far as battery life? 10 hours should be a moonshot goal by the end of this decade!



    Those are niggles in what I consider to be Apple's sexiest product yet! Anyone want a 12" Powerbook?
  • Reply 20 of 47
    > That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.



    As other said, it's probably about differentiating the products, or upselling more customers to the Pro. However, Firewire isn't that cheap. The Firewire chips cost more than a few bucks, require space on the logic board (USB is built-in to the chipset), and require power. Although I personally want a notebook with Firewire, it's reasonable that they would leave it off the consumer notebook. I use target disk mode all the time, but my less-savvy friends and family never do.



    The black plastic hinge cover is ugly, but that's probably where they stuck the antennas.



    > Also, I find the black keyboards ugly.



    Agreed. I think that if they were the same color as the body, it would look a little weird, but no worse than the black keyboard. I think they should have used dark grey instead.



    > I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display.



    If the trip was so long, you should have called first. Not all the stores get new models on display immediately. (They may have had the new notebooks in stock, but perhaps they didn't have the displays to go with them, or they were waiting until after hours to set it up.) Also, Steve said "should" be in stores tomorrow.



    > I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?



    Next to the optical drive, on the right side.
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